So, a bit less than a week ago I attended a conference at the UN offices in New York to celebrate the international day of Peace, which falls on September 21st every year. Myself and over twenty other youth went with a Montreal based group called Cercle de Paix.
While we were there we got to see a peace bell ceremony, as well as attend a conference with messengers of peace, and be part of a discussion held among all the youth present, the ambassadors of peace, and youth from a few other places that they had with us via videoconference. One of the most exciting parts of the conference was that they had, over this videoconference, students from Sudan and Liberia in the room with us. It was a great opportunity for everyone to come together and talk about how we could move towards a lasting peace, and to see that there are so many like-minded people. At the end of the conference, they held a flag ceremony, where in turn each countries flag was held up and represented in a wish for peace.
It was humbling and inspiring to see that these incredibly accomplished people – Nobel Laureates, ambassadors of Peace – were taking the time out of their lives to talk to us about what we could do for peace. It was very motivating and really got me excited for the trip we’re all about to make. One of the ideas I heard a few times was the need for us to start trying to understand each other. That’s a huge part of why I’m excited for this opportunity with Youth Challenge International – it’s offering me the opportunity to experience a culture I would otherwise know nothing about, in a very important and intimate way. I feel these kinds of experiences are important in coming together in peace, and this trip to the UN has made that ever more clear.
It’s nice to know as I prepare for this trip, that there are people who believe in the value of acquainting yourself with other cultures, and who support what we’re doing even if we aren’t aware of it. I imagine that will be something I can lean on if I ever run in to a tough time in Tanzania.
Over the next month I’ll be getting ready to leave for my eight weeks in Tanzania. I cannot wait to meet everyone, and get started on our project. It’s approaching quicker than I ever expected, and in a matter of weeks I’ll be landing in Dar Es Salaam. It’s a bit crazy to think about. I’m sure this trip to the UN will be something I can look back on, as well our trip to Tanzania, as something that really made an impact on me.
– Rebecca Acheson, preparing YCI volunteer, Tanzania 2010. Rebecca is getting ready to participate in an 8-week project in Morogoro to work on youth health and youth leadership initiatives.